Poetry of Love, Resistance, & Solidarity

Posts tagged ‘Diane Wahto’

Yellow Music — Diane Wahto

“When the communists took over my country, they labeled the music different colors—yellow for soft, relaxing music, green for music to work by, red for music of war.”

 

An Le, Vietnamese refugee.

Those in positions of power buy pianos,

know that people are ruled through

their stomachs. Keep citizens a little

hungry, and they will work from Monday

to Sunday without complaint. It’s the well-fed,

the fat, who want weekends for themselves,

want to play yellow music on their grand

pianos, plot the next move to keep victory

in their iron-clad, red-music grasp.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto’s book of poetry, The Sad Joy of Leaving, is available at Blue Cedar Press.com. Her most recent publications are “Persistence,” at Ekphrastic Review, and “Empty Corners”, in Same. She and her husband, Patrick Roche, live in Wichita, Kansas, with their dog Annie, the Kansas Turnpike dog.

November editor, Ronda Miller, is State President of the Kansas Authors Club (2018 – 2019). Her three books of poetry include Going Home: Poems from My Life, MoonStain (Meadowlark-Books, 2015) and WaterSigns (Meadowlark-Books, 2017). Miller lives in Lawrence but returns to wander The Arikaree Breaks of Cheyenne county every chance she gets. Kansas Authors Club.

Morning Paper—Morning Birds — By Diane Wahto

I bend to pick up the morning paper,

as sparrows hidden in dark trees sing

to the gray morning sky. I prepare

myself for the daily dose of grim

print that reveals itself as I unfold

a newspaper that has grown thin

over the years, but not thin enough

to keep out the horrors born of hate

that turns one against another, sours

our humanity before it has a chance

to bear fruit. What knowledge comes

with morning bird song? Knowing

birds will sing with the sunrise,

that the song continues to defy news

wrapped in print every morning.

~ Diane Wahto

 

Diane Wahto received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, Ph.D., the 2009-13 Kansas Poet Laureate is the author of two dozen books, including, most recently, Miriam’s Well, a novel; Everyday Magic: A Field Guide to the Mundane and Miraculous, and Following the Curve, a collection of embodied poetry. . Founder of Transformative Language Arts at Goddard College where she teaches, Mirriam-Goldberg also leads writing workshops widely, particularly for people living with serious illness and their caregivers. With singer Kelley Hunt, she co-leads writing and singing retreats. 

A Blank Sheet of Paper: A Poem in Free Verse for Free Women . by Diane Wahto

Lawmakers etch their restrictions on sovereign bodies,diane-wahto

obliterate women out of existence, into servitude.

Lawmakers scribble laws, sentence women to a word

web of confinement. Lawmakers in marble halls

of statehouses, pillared halls of Washington, raise

their voices in pious tones, invoke a fantasy god

of their own devising as justification for their laws.

Lawmakers spout platitudes of concern for women,

their safety, their health, then doodle laws to bring

harm upon women. Lawmakers pray to their gods

to end abortion, lawmakers who would punish

providers, lawmakers who send their daughters

to accommodating doctors, doctors who would

never utter the word “abortion,” who instead

say, “D &C.” A woman will say “abortion,”

will say the law of her own conscience will

guide her, a law not written anywhere

but in her sovereign being. A law

on a blank piece of paper, a law

written by each woman who will

decide how she must fulfill her destiny.


Diane Wahto
received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of
Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor Laura Lee Washburn is the Director of Creative Writing at Pittsburg State University in Kansas, and the author of This Good Warm Place: 10th Anniversary Expanded Edition (March Street) and Watching the Contortionists (Palanquin Chapbook Prize).  Her poetry has appeared in such journals as TheNewVerse.News, Cavalier Literary Couture, Carolina Quarterly, Ninth Letter, The Sun, Red Rock Review, and Valparaiso Review.  Born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, she has also lived and worked in Arizona and in Missouri.  She is married to the writer Roland Sodowsky and is one of the founders and the Co-President of the Board of SEK Women Helping Women.

Mohammed Reads Poetry – by Diane Wahto

 

At the peace poetry reading, we gather

in the crowded coffee house, poets

who have written poems of peace.

We recite our pieces to applause,

nod and take a seat. Mohammed,

there with his dark-haired, dark-

eyed wife, distributes his poems,

written in Urdu and English, speaks

in Urdu, a melodic language, intricate

as the architecture of his homeland,

then turns to English, a language

created to deliver straight-forward

words. Urdu is heard, Mohammed’s

accent still strong, even after years

of living in America. Poems of love,

of joyous parties, of family, of land,

lift us, make us smile. After, we gather

around, talk about the next time, freed

from the darkness outside the windows

of the brightly lit coffee shop.

 

Diane Wahto received an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985 and has been writing poetry ever since. Her latest publication, “Empty Corners,” is in the spring 2017 issue of Same. She was co-editor of 365 Days, an anthology of the 365 Facebook page poets. She lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Patrick Roche and their dog Annie.

Guest Editor Roy J. Beckemeyer is President of the Kansas Authors Club. His poetry book, Music I Once Could Dance To (Coal City Press, 2014) was a 2015 Kansas Notable Book.

Seeking Refuge – by Diane Wahto

diane-wahtoWhere do you find hope or solace
under a cold sky that is not your sky,
far from the land that means loss
to a land where the earth provides
only hard ground to ease your nights,
where no roof deflects winter winds,
no warm kitchen aromas brighten
the end of a day spent in mundane
pursuits. This lonely refuge will
keep you safe for now, your child
clutching a teddy bear, kept warm
in a puffy jacket. Free from alarm,
his eyes roam the unfamiliar
landscape, explore a new world
before he barely knows the old.

~ Diane Wahto

Poety Diane Wahto graduated with an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University in 1985. Recent publications include work in 365 Days, a volume for which she was a co-editor. She, her husband Patrick Roche, and their dogs, Annie and Mulan, live in Midtown, Wichita, Kansas.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.

Genesis by Diane Wahto

Diane WahtoWhen those two people, cold, armored, fortified

against the assaults they had fought and conquered,

when those two faced each other, foundered,

grasped hands to make promises, to forge an accord,

in the almost empty church in front of the preacher

on a Saturday night, in front of her mother, his mother,

his father dead, her father deaf to anyone’s needs

but his own small ones,

when they left the church and went to the small

apartment just down the block that they would call

home until the first baby started to crawl,

when they shared a bed for the first time,

unfamiliar touches, awkward kisses, crossed a line

that she had not crossed before, he making a fine

show of manhood the first time. Then came the sun,

a bright light in the bedroom. They arose, put on

their wedding clothes, and went to church,

as was their habit.

~ Diane Wahto

Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas.

Guest editor: Denise Low, 2nd Kansas Poet Laureate, is author of twenty-five books, most recently Mélange Block (Red Mountain Press, Santa Fe). Low is past president of the Associated Writers and Writing Programs board of directors. Cream City Review nominated her fiction for a Pushcart Prize, 2014. She writes articles, blogs, and reviews; and she co-publishes a small press, Mammoth Publications. She teaches private professional workshops as well as classes for Baker U. Her MFA is from W.S.U. and Ph.D. is from K.U. She has British Isles, German, and Delaware Indian heritage. See more: www.deniselow.net http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/denise-low http://deniselow.blogspot.com

Last Night I Dreamed by Scott McCloud

scottLast night I dreamed that young beautiful men danced

around me in my dusty chore clothes. The hems

of their long coats were frayed and spinning.

They worked me over like a choir. Beckoning

“choose me, pick this, why not here?

Why not this?”

Last week during the Sanctus my arms

rose on instinct, a ghosted gunrise

on a rooster pheasant.


Like some screwball charismatic, but

I heard the wingbeats. My life list

of birds grows daily.

But it isn’t a secret anymore. Dun quails whisper

“make some trouble over me. I am

worthy of sacrifice.”

My head is clean. My feet and hands are washed.

I have been here many times and for many times

this will come after.

Bio: Scott McCloud teaches, farms and writes near Walton, Kansas. His chapbook, Tallgrass Prairie Burn Cycle (2011 Full Metal Faith Press) features prairie, farming, sexuality and prayer as intimates. Market gardens, birding, hunting and fishing are touchstones and a childhood of churchly work ruptures his craft. He blogs at http://originalface.tumblr.com  samccloud@gmail.com

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

Moonstain by Ronda Miller

RondaMillerBarn doors pushed closed an

indication something worth investigating

was within. It took all my strength to

slide to open, close again.

 

New birth in pungent urgency led

me to the still born calf quite warm. I

nestled into the hay beside it, placed

my arms around its neck.

 

I knew what death was—had

listened to whispers about my

mother’s not long before. I could

hear the mother cow’s loud bawling

from outside the back barn door.

 

I felt the spirit lift from the calf, swirl

around me, disappear. It grew cold;

I felt damp fear.

 

I sat in the caliginous stall

until my sister came, took my

hand, ran with me past my grandmother’s

garden of hollyhocks, iris, strawberries,

rhubarb, past the spot where the

rattler soaked up water from a sprinkler

one August day, past the rotten elm where

winged fire ants swarmed in balls before

they tumbled to the ground.

 

We opened the rusted screen door, tiptoed

to bed where I lay crying, because it

felt so wondrous, because it felt so good,

until the moon’s stain no longer

spread across the floor.

Bio: Ronda Miller enjoys wandering the high plateau of NW Kansas where the Arikaree Breaks whisper late into the sunset and scream into blizzards and t-storms. She lives in Lawrence close to her son and daughter. She is Youth Contest Manager for Kansas Authors Club, District 2 President, and a Life Coach specializing in working with those who have lost someone to homicide. She dances every chance she gets. She has poetry in numerous online and hard copy publications that include The Smithsonian Institute. 

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

August by Tyler Sheldon

Tyler Sheldon PhotoSeeds explode like fire against the neighbor’s garage

or hang mortified like bodies

from the sycamore out front.

My father walks with leaden pipe in hand

(dog insurance, he says)

as downstreet the Akita runs his length of iron chain,

hoping it will snap.

 

I am barefoot and fifteen

and the concrete boils before me

as the mail truck pulls away

into the hallucinatory shimmer of the street.

I run out like time,

And life itself hangs in the balance.

Bio: Tyler Sheldon is the Press Manager for Flint Hills Review, and is a Creative Writing student at Emporia State University. His poetry has been published in numerous journals, such as Tulgey Wood, Quivira, Periphery, Thorny Locust, and eleven to seven, and is forthcoming in I-70 Review. The 2012 anthology To The Stars Through Difficulties: A Kansas Renga in 150 Voices featured his poem “Fall” alongside work by Kansas Poet Laureates Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg and Denise Low. He has self-published a chapbook, Being (American). tyrsheldon@gmail.com

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

Udall, Kansas by Myrne Roe

                                May 25, 1955

The man uneasy left their bed.

His wife sleeping on her back

hands crossed at her neck clutching

a linen sheet as if it might escape.

Air hot and cold weighed heavy

on his chest, stole his breath.

At ten thirty he checked t.v. and radio,

got static for his efforts.

A calico paced up and down stairs,

mewling as if calling lost kittens.

The man and cat were students of storms,

big and not, sent each spring to Kansas.

He couldn’t see out the kitchen door

unless lightening zigged and zagged,

threw bolts that made shadows

of the grain elevator and water tower.

A train whistle blew and blew.

The man feared the engineer

meant a warning because he saw evil drop,

churn earth into debris as it charged toward town.

The news at ten issued all clear

so he had assumed only a thunderstorm.

Now he thought he’d better call his wife,

secure them both beneath the kitchen table.

By then it was ten thirty-five

and the most powerful Kansas tornado ever,

bore down on Udall with whirling, roaring

homicidal winds bent on fostering hell.

Dawn covered the awful result with pale light.

Silence wandered like a ghost

amid uprooted trees planted a hundred years ago,

houses without roofs and doors,

a telephone pole piercing the side of a church,

broken glass filling a bathtub.

Rescuers found death and affliction

in rooms without walls, flattened cars,

fields stripped of crops. flooded spaces.

The calico cat hid under a rain-soaked sofa.

No one found the man or his wife,

their house cleaved into splinters.

Reporters and cameramen hastened into the town

to find their story. Amid the ruins

one of them wrote,  “The little town of Udall

died in its sleep last night.”

Myrne Roe write, “I am a retired editorial writer and syndicated columnist who has been writing poetry for fifteen years. My poems have been published in local and regional publications including ByLine Magazine, Voices of the Heartland, Words Out of the Flatlands and Kansas Voices. I have also published a chapbook, Ironing Out the Wrinkles.” myrne@cox.net

Guest Editor Diane Wahto has an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. Her poem, “Someone Is Always Watching,” won the American Academy of Poets award. Recently, her poems “The Conspiracy of Coffee” and “After the Storm” were published in Active Aging. She, her husband, and two dogs live in Wichita, Kansas. dwahto@cox.net

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